Hearts Break

A new little baby started at daycare just a couple of weeks ago. Justin and Alex love babies so they’re always excited to get to know a new one. Barry had met Isaac’s dad, Matt, a few times. He said that he was always smiling, cheerful and happy, and he thought to himself, there’s a guy who loves life.

On Monday we heard the tragic news that he passed away suddenly over the weekend. I’m not entirely sure what happened, possibly an undiagnosed heart problem, I’m just not sure. His funeral was today. He left behind his wife, the baby, and a four year-old daughter. So sad.

I sat down with Justin and Alex the other morning to explain to them what had happened. I’m often amazed at just how much kids do understand. I thought maybe they’d just take it in sort of matter-of-factly, but they both had a lot of questions, especially Justin.

Justin: “Why did he want to die?”
Me: “He didn’t, but sometimes bad things happen, I think he had something wrong with his heart.”
Justin: “Is he in heaven?”
Me: “I’m sure he is.”
Justin: “Is Isaac gonna get a new dad?”
Me: “Well, I think it’s just going to be Isaac and his sister and his mom for now.”
Justin: “Maybe he can share our dad.”
Me: “That is a really sweet thing for you to say, Justin. You’re so nice.”
Justin: “What was wrong with his heart? Was it beating too fast?”
Me: “I think maybe it was.”
Alex, not at all trying to be funny: “That’s a wild story. Maybe he can be with your uncle.”
Me: “That’s so nice that you remembered my uncle was in heaven too. You’re right, maybe they can meet and be friends.”

Justin wanted to see a picture of him so I showed him the obituary on-line. For some reason he was really upset that there wasn’t a picture of him wearing his hat. I think he worked from home and wore a baseball cap every morning when he dropped off Isaac. It’s heartbreaking to think that Matt won’t have the chance to have conversations like this, even sad ones, with his own children. Life is not fair.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011

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